DB Cargo is planning to work with Toshiba technology company to test the use of hybrid technology in freight locomotives. A feasibility study on the joint development will first be carried out, and DB Cargo will later acquire 100 new hybrid locomotives equipped with a diesel engine and a high-performance electric powertrain.
Compared with traditional combustion engines, hybrid engines consume less fuel and produce fewer emissions. At the same time they lead to lower maintenance costs and improve the average fleet availability. Hybrid locomotives by various manufacturers are already in use in a number of European countries.
DB Cargo intends to use the hybrid vehicles as regional locomotives, with the first test vehicles expected to be available by the end of 2019.
Efficient capacity management
DB Cargo is also working with Toshiba in another context. Toshiba is a member of a consortium led by the Munich-based locomotive rental company Railpool. The consortium buys older DB Cargo locomotives, transfers them to a vehicle fleet and offers them for hire. The fleet is made up of 200 type 151 and 155 locomotives. This allows DB Cargo to rent locomotives efficiently based on the number of orders received.
“Our aim is to work with Toshiba to further develop the supplier market for freight transport locomotives and components. DB Cargo gets access to future technologies that are not currently available in that form in the domestic market. In return, we – as Europe’s biggest rail freight company – support Toshiba with their market entry: a classic win-win situation,” says Jürgen Wilder, CEO of DB Cargo.
The rail freight company has thereby created a market for used locomotives – a first in the field of vehicle management – making it possible to hire locomotive capacity flexibly and at short notice. DB remains responsible for the maintenance of these vehicles.
At an average age of 40, DB Cargo’s fleet of shunting locomotives will soon have reached its maximum service life. DB Cargo is therefore making an early switch to innovative hybrid technologies – both as a way of covering the replacement needs and to develop its own expertise in the areas of servicing and maintenance from an early stage.